Free Motion Quilting Practice

Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) is one of those things that have eluded me. I struggled with consistency of stitch and smooth curves, but I keep practicing, hoping one day it will click for me.

I use cheap muslin and cotton batting to make my practice pieces. I recently moved up to little bigger practice pieces in order to simulate quilting actual quilts.

This first practice was to learn how to do pebbles. I love the looks of them. Also practiced curved feathers, which are very wonky still. I'm not 100% displeased with my progress, but have a long way to go before attempting this on a real quilt.

Once I fill a practice piece I have to turn it into something. Here are a couple of the fabric bins I made in order to use them for organization in my sewing room.

Here is another fmq pattern I have been trying to learn. You can see the very uneven lines and curves, especially in the beginning.

I combined the half circle flower-like patterns with clam shell patterns..

The pictures below were taken after the piece came out of the wash. I love how it tightens up and hides many of my mistakes.

Since this practice piece was much bigger it became a large tote bag which can be used as a library bag.

Sure there are a lot of mistakes, but I don't think anyone will be examining it very closely. I'm beginning to think fmq doesn't need to be perfect. That perhaps it's even better when it isn't. What is more important is that I am really enjoying the process.

One thing these practices have shown me is my Juki DX2000 is a thread snob when it comes to fmq. It likes Isacord Poly quite a lot but not Aurifil. Every now and then I get a large loop which catches on the auto threader which shreds the thread. I have no such issues when doing regular sewing. This only happens in fmq mode. It's a new issue as it wasn't doing this before. It might warrant a trip to the dealer to see if it can be rectified. I love this machine so I hope it can be resolved.

What have you been working on?


Kathleen said…
I have this machine but am not happy with the fmq. I took it to the dealer today and he said it looks good and I was not happy with that and told him to look at it...I left it there. What size needle do you use, and thread? Do you keep your dial on "auto" all of the time. He also told me I should he using the floating foot for fmq. Can you give me some pointers as your quilting looks beautiful. Thank you,
LouAnne Lay said…
Kathleen, I wasn't happy with the FMQ on mine at first either. I took the batting I use along with the thread and needle and went to the dealer. He used those materials and kept playing with it until it was perfectly adjusted for fmq. After that it was truly perfect. I do use the floating foot for fmq. I ordered the Juki open toe darning foot and love it. I hope you're able to get it adjusted to your liking.
LouAnne Lay said…
I forgot to answer your questions! The needle is the standard organ needle that came with the machine. The thread was Isacord Embroidery thread which is my absolute favorite thread with which to quilt. I do have it on the auto setting when doing fmq, but that's because I had the tech at my dealer set it for that when he adjusted the machine. I did test it out while there to make sure it would work fine on fmq and straight stitching as well as using the decorative stitches. When you go back to pick up your machine, take your own materials and test it out before taking it home. It only took 15 minutes to get my machine exactly the way I wanted it. Good luck!
Poetic Justice said…
Your pieces are beautiful!!!

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